Justice Department clears officer in Ferguson case, criticizes p - KMOV.com

Justice Department clears officer in Ferguson case, criticizes police force

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A Justice Department report says blacks in Ferguson are disproportionately subjected to excessive police force, baseless traffic stops, and citations for petty infractions -- like walking down the middle of the street.

Read the full report

The department has issued more than two dozen recommendations to improve the city's police department and court system. They include training officers to de-escalate confrontations. And the report also calls for better oversight of Ferguson's recruiting, hiring and promotion procedures.

Federal officials say city leaders in Ferguson are cooperative and open to change, and that there are already signs of improvement.

Attorney General Eric Holder issued an update on the Justice Department's findings Wednesday afternoon.

The investigation began weeks after the shooting death of unarmed black 18-year-old Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. The killing set off weeks of protests, and sparked a national dialogue about police use of force and their relations with minority communities.

As it released the recommendations, the Justice Department also announced that it won't prosecute the former officer in the shooting death. Officials concluded that there's no evidence to disprove Wilson's testimony that he feared for his safety, and that there's no reliable evidence that Brown had his hands up when he was shot.

After the Department of Justice released their findings, the Brown family sent out the following statement:

"Today we received disappointing news from the Department of Justice that the killer of our son wouldn't be held accountable for his actions.

While we are saddened by this decision, we are encouraged that the DOJ will hold the Ferguson Police Department accountable for the pattern of racial bias and profiling they found in their handling of interactions with people of color.

It is our hope that through this action, true change will come not only in Ferguson, but around the country.

If that change happens, our son's death will not have been in vain."

Many Ferguson residents told News 4 the Justice Department report validated what they have been saying for years. Many said African Americans are often stopped for no reason.

"I totally agree with everything he said. The police, in the 29 years I have lived here, really don't care about the blacks," said resident Daryl Howard.

"There can be a bunch of us riding in the car, we're riding around having fun, we feel as though we're stereotyped. All we want is something done about it," said resident Jamond Shelton.

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